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Taraji P. Henson fought hard to get No Good Deed made. And her battle paid off. The Sony thriller co-starring a murderous Idris Elba defeated mega movie Guardians of the Galaxy at movie theaters this past weekend. Henson and Elba proved they have major appeal with the box office win.

In No Good Deed, Elba portrays an escaped convict and Henson is the innocent woman he tortures. The flick came in No. 1 earning $24.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. This despite very mixed reviews. But Sony says it was counting on it and Henson recently complained that Hollywood executives underestimate her appeal.

“It’s a movie that we really loved and felt that it was going to win,” said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. “You have to give it to the cast in Idris and Taraji. Their chemistry together is fantastic.”

There was also the issue of canceled preview press screenings of the film. The night before last week’s scheduled previews, everyone who has RSVP’d (including us here at MadameNoire), received an email that the event had been canceled because filmmakers didn’t want a big “plot twist” to be revealed. That got the side eye with many jumping to the conclusion that they just didn’t want folks to start talking about how bad the movie is.

Moviegoers are clearly paying that no mind. It’s already turned a profit, as it reportedly nearly doubled its budget in its first week of release, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.

“It’s the first brand new, post-summer release to really catch on,” he said.

The family friendly Dolphin Tale 2 came in second place with $16.5 million. Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd reprised their roles from the 2011 original.

Guardians dropped to third with $8 million in ticket sales, reports Black America Web. The space adventure had held the No. 1 spot for four weeks and is the top-grossing film of the year domestically so far. It has pulled in more than $300 million in North America and $600 million worldwide.

In fourth was Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with $4.8 million, followed by the Fox comedy Let’s Be Cops ( $4.3 million). Finishing up the top ten were (in order):  Crime drama The Drop, starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini with $4.2 million even though only played in 809 theaters; If I Stay, $4 million ($3.2 million international); The November Man, $2.7 million; The Giver, $2.6 million ($3 million international); and The Hundred-Foot Journey, $2.4 million.

Did you see No Good Deed?

Additional contribution by Tonya Garcia

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